Hanne Beutels, wife, mother of two, and official designer of handbags since 2010, speaks with a soft tone of voice, looks at the world with two blue eyes, and tries to color the world a little more beautiful by creating handbags out of old leather jackets and / or by using vegetal tanned leather. It all began with her grandmother’s sewing machine and a patchwork of fabrics from her mother. What once started as a hobby has turned into a passion and a career.
From jacket to handbag
Hanne graduated as an interior designer, but while searching for a job in this discipline, she started to design and create handbags. Her specialty lies in combining different kinds of materials that she selects from the materials she finds in fabric shops, charity shops, or the materials that she receives from other people. The combination of recycled leather and textile, the use of the vegetal tanned leather and the simple lines of her designs describe her work well. “I work very intuitively, with a strong eye toward detail. And every piece I make is exclusive and unique because all of the fabrics I use are limited in quantity.”
Hanne is cautious about her selection of recycled fabric pieces: “Not every leather jacket I receive is qualified to be used. The leather has to be smooth, workable, and has to ‘feel’ good.” It is no surprise that Hanne prefers to work with materials with a second life and ‘used’ surface.
Room for creativity
“Although I grew up in a rather protective environment, I have always been encouraged to do what I wanted to do and to explore my creativity. Together with my parents and two older brothers, we lived in a big house in Lichtaart (Belgium) with a lot of room for creativity.” This protective and creative space triggered Hanne to develop the creative part of her personality. Her eye for detail and interest in beauty were already inherently present at a young age.
In case of Hanne Beutels, it’s true what they say: an evening person is often more creative. “I am more of an evening person. I try to do some production and administration during the daytime, while the best ideas and the enthusiasm to try something new always pop-up after 4PM.” This means that Hanne doesn’t live according to a fixed day planning or structure (“It doesn’t work for me”), but tries to follow her personal rhythm, surrounded by natural light, nature, music, or silence.
Knowing this, it goes without saying that Hanne doesn’t follow seasons or trends, and only comes out with a new collection when the time is right.
A fixed planning during the day doesn’t work for me
Hanne is someone who stands in life in a pure way. No makeup, nor small jewelry or other accessories beside bracelets, with a big exception for ‘handbags’ of course. “It can be the finishing touch to your outfit.” Her personal preference is given to large handbags that have to be practical and great to look at. The functional aspect is important.
I wanted to know why Hanne had chosen this environmentally fashion forward path. It’s clear that this green girl wants to contribute to a better and cleaner world. Her way of doing this is working with secondhand materials and vegetal tanned leather. “I always have been a ‘green girl’, supporting Greenpeace, WWF, etc., and I also experienced the impact of chemicals that are used during the leather tanning by myself on my hands. Also, in daily life, I try to act more consciously and implement some small things that make a difference (vegetable garden, reducing water consumption, limiting meat consumption, etc.).”
Beside some strong details, I provide my handbags with a good belt and I personally also appreciate the presence of a zipper.
I like this night owl, building her dreams during evenings while contributing to a better, cleaner, and greener world. She prefers action, rather than words.